There are several reasons why people choose to burn incense. Some do it as part of certain religious observances; some do it to freshen up the space while others light incense in order to relax after a long day.
Whatever your reasons, it’s important that you understand how to use incense sticks so that you can get the most out of them while being safe.
Find a Suitable Place to Burn Your Incense
While it’s important to burn your incense stick or burner in a well-ventilated area, the actual burner should be placed away from open doors or windows in order to avoid spreading the ash or potentially diminishing its effects.
You should also avoid placing the incense burner next to flammable materials such as drapes, curtains or paper.
Light the End of the Incense Stick
A lighter or a match both work well when lighting your incense stick. For the best results, firmly hold the stick to the flame until it catches.
Let the Flame Burn for 10 Seconds
After you’ve ignited the incense stick, the flame should naturally die down in about 10 seconds. After that, the top of the incense stick will be left with a glowing ember, which means that you’ve ignited it properly. However, if the end of the stick just looks ashy or dry, then you’ll have to light it again.
Gently Blow Out the Flame
If you’ve ignited your incense stick properly, there should be no flame at the end of it, but rather a small tendril of smoke followed by a glowing ember. Thirty seconds later, the incense stick should start filling the space with its fragrance to show that you’ve ignited it properly.
However, if the stick just looks ashy and you don’t notice any change in the fragrance of the space, then you might have to light it up again.
Stick Your Incense Into the Holder
Solid incense sticks are rather easy to work with, as you can effortlessly place them onto a holder with either end, whereas a cored incense stick has to be positioned onto the holder with the wooden end facing down. A majority of the censers available will either hold the incense stick at an angle or in an upright position.
If your incense holder falls under the first category, make sure that the uppermost part of the incense stick is hovering over the censer so that the ash falls safely onto it. If you’re using a super long stick whose tip extends past the censer, then you’ll have to trim it or make sure that the censer is placed onto a heat-resistant tray.
In order to secure the incense sticks while providing a safe surface for the ash to fall, some people stick the incense onto grains of sand, salt or rice. If you’re using this method, make sure that the stick is firmly standing before you ignite it. Even if the stick is at an angle, its tip should be facing the container so that the ash can fall onto it instead of the floor or table.
Let the Incense Burn Until the End
Usually, incense sticks will naturally burn for 30 minutes depending on their thickness and size.
Practice Fire Safety
Make sure you manually extinguish the incense stick before you exit the room, as it’s never a good idea to leave anything flammable unattended.
Also, incense sticks and burners should always be placed away from flammable surfaces and materials like drapes, curtains or paper. And make sure that it’s placed away from the reach of small children and pets as well.